The Celtics are making David Lee available to teams that would like to trade for him, league sources tell TNT’s David Aldridge, who writes in his Morning Tip for NBA.com. That’s no grand surprise, especially since Lee’s average of 15.6 minutes per night this season is lower than the 18.4 minutes per game he saw with the Warriors last year, when he fell out of the rotation. Lee, on an expiring contract, is Boston’s highest-paid player, with a salary of nearly $15.494MM.
The two-time All-Star arrived in Boston with much fanfare over the summer, even though at the age of 32, he’s not the superstar acquisition the Celtics have long been hunting for. Lee’s representatives reportedly worked in conjunction with the Warriors to help him find a new team, and the big man recently said that he doesn’t have regrets about leaving Golden State, even amid an historic start to the season for the Warriors.
Lee averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds in 33.2 minutes per game for the Warriors in 2013/14, but like last season, he finds himself playing behind other talented frontcourt players this year. Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk are all seeing more minutes per game than Lee is, and Tyler Zeller, last season’s starting center for the Celtics, is getting only 7.8 minutes per contest.
The sizable salary Lee has figures to be an obstacle to a trade, especially since expiring contracts aren’t as valuable as they used to be. Most teams are currently over the cap, so they would have to come up with salary of at least $10,493,680 to trade for Lee straight up. No team has a trade exception large enough for him — not even the Cavs, who have the league’s largest trade exception, worth more than $10.5MM.
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